Are you interested in current affairs? Can you work quickly and accurately to very tight deadlines? Are you good at writing interesting and creative copy? Do you have good communication skills? Do you cope well under pressure?
If yes, then a career in public relations and communications may appeal to you.
Public relations is all about reputation management. The CIPR define it as:
The result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. Public relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics. […] Reputation is often the one feature that can make a fundamental difference to a company and thus, give it a competitive edge.
PR professionals create, maintain and manage a positive public image for the company they represent. The profession covers a broad range of areas, from crisis management to re-branding an organisation to producing publications. Another key role of a PR company or agency is to identify potential clients through market research, and to establish how companies can best reach them through advertising campaigns and targeted marketing.
The PR and communications sector is one of the fastest-growing professions in the UK. With the explosion of online media, PR is more important than ever, and companies are hiring more agencies and PR staff to manage reputations. The skill is being able to keep up-to-date with vast amounts of information in the fast moving platform of digital media. Increasingly search engine optimisation (SEO) and social media are important tools for those aspiring to make it in PR. Social media is a challenge for PR executives as sites such as Facebook and Twitter are beyond the control of companies and their marketeers. Other work includes organising press conferences and media briefings, issuing reactive statements to journalists, dealing face-to-face with journalists and with their requests and enquiries, briefing spokespeople, and acting as a spokesperson yourself. It also includes event management such as attending exhibitions and trade fairs. The publications element includes producing corporate publications, such as in-house magazines, promotional literature and corporate websites. The role may also include internal communications and crisis management – keeping staff and key stakeholders informed about company developments through briefings, blogs and staff intranet sites.
Roles often includes handling campaigns, dealing with press communications and writing press releases as well as keep organised cuttings and handle outside enquiries.